So much inspiration from my past few days spent with Chris Gandy. One of many highlights were two trips into Greensboro to dine at Natty Greene’s. Named after the Revolutionary War General Nathanael Greene and home to the International Civil Rights Center and Museum, this quiet southern city not only bears the name of an important historical figure but also is home to a seminal event in the history of the civil rights movement in America: the Greensboro Lunch Counter Sit-In. At times it is easy to get lost in the stereotypes of the South, at which point your mind becomes mired in the negative and you become a host for further growth of the dark cloud. After 32 years of living in Jacksonville, FL I have come to love the pockets of light which stand opposed to the condemning stares of the world and these two individual are such examples. Even further off the labeled path (and here I go a bit off topic for the sake of my soap box) is the literature, art and ethic in this part of America. While Mississippi’s racism and North Carolina’s recent Amendment 1 validate the boilerplate, there is an ideal and a lifestyle which is both romantic an admirable. Hopefully these two individuals will directly represent the latter sentiment.
The irony in these two figures is that Greene, while a person who was elemental in American winning its independence, when pressed on the issue of enslaving Africans by his Quaker friend Warner Mifflin he noted it could not be defended yet gave an “excuse” as to why it was necessary, responding that they would be treated well. A difficult pill in our history with respect to the birthing of the ideal amidst the disease of slavery. You can read about that conversation and more here.
Learning is not virtue but the means to bring us an acquaintance with it. Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful. Let these be your motives to action through life, the relief of the distressed, the detection of frauds, the defeat of oppression, and diffusion of happiness.
– Nathanael Greene
Strong people don’t need strong leaders.
– Ella Baker
Go further to learn more. Additional information regarding the Sit-Ins.